Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: Loving People and Living for Jesus Christ

Start with the end in mind

A devotional by Patricia Russell

"I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us." —Philippians 3:14 (NLT)

Have you ever heard the words “start with the end in mind” in relation to planning an event, a recording or any project? What do you think the reason for this is?

The end is what you want to accomplish. The end is the culmination of all the plans, preparation and processes you’ve gone through to arrive at the destination. So, in order to write the plan, having the end in mind and working backwards is ideal.

When one’s life has ended, and final goodbyes are planned to honor the person by having a homegoing service, there are many people who want to share their thoughts about the person and what they meant to them. I have often thought about who would say what about me at my homegoing. The more we think about it is the more we want to live with that end in mind. What I mean is, I want to love people so well that if I die before Jesus Christ returns to Earth to take His faithful followers home to Heaven, the life I lived leaves a legacy behind showing everyone that I loved people, I loved Jesus, and I used my God-given gifts for the benefit of others.

The best person to teach us how this is actually lived out is Jesus Christ. On the night of His arrest, He gathered His disciples together for dinner. He asked them to eat bread and drink wine in remembrance of Him. So that when He died, they would remember and reflect on what He taught them. Now, the question is, “Are we following Jesus, serving Him and others, and living intentionally with purpose from day to day?”

We should also ponder these questions:
“Do we do things, share knowledge with people, encourage and empower others so that we are not keeping the knowledge to ourselves?” and “What mark are we intentionally leaving on this world so that when we leave, they will know we were here? Will people know through the way we lived and legacy of faith we leave behind, that Jesus loves them?”

The apostle Paul had accomplished so much when he said in Philippians 3:12, “I press on”. 

He had not finished. He still had more to do. He was focused on the end goal. The goal kept him moving in the right direction. He continued by saying in Philippians 3:14: “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

The race was ongoing, and he was not quitting. No one wants to quit when there is a “prize” to gain. And when God is giving out prizes you know it’s gonna be good.

The Apostle Paul calls us who are spiritually mature to agree to run to win. How do we do this? We listen and look for people who need encouragement to keep going. You know how just one word of encouragement can change your life for the better. Just one word can push you forward when you feel like quitting. Weeks will come, months will pass, and years will close but whatever you do, don’t give up. Focus on the goal which will keep you pressing forward despite the discouragement and distractions. Stay determined like Paul and run to win!

Let’s Pray:

Father God, we praise You and thank You for everything. You know the end of our days and it is your desire for us to receive the prize you have set before us. Lord, we believe your Word and know you will strengthen us as we run this race of life to win! In Jesus’s Name we pray, Amen.

Song of Reflection:
“Press On” by Selah. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Patricia is an encourager. She passionately uses her gifting as an author, speaker, pastor, recording artist, worship leader and coach. 

Stronger Resilience: Stories to Empower the Mind, Body & Spirit (a book that she wrote) was an Amazon Bestseller in October 2020.

Patricia sings! She has released two CDs titled Draw Me Nearer and Lord I Trust You.

She also travels to speak to audiences internationally.

When she is not ministering to save souls in God’s Kingdom, Patricia enjoys reading, writing and connecting like-minded people who can sharpen each other in the journey to their dreams and goals.

As a two-time breast cancer overcomer, her desire is to coach others to live life to the fullest by understanding their gifting from God and using it.

Connect with Patricia:

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